Executive Director of The Community Center at Visitation
“Leading with Agility & Adaptability”
The Community Center at Visitation (CCV) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit located in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. It provides a welcoming community space for Kensington residents to build meaningful connections and access resources to improve the quality of life in the area. In December of 2020, Generocity reported that the Kensington neighborhood’s average annual income was $12,669, making it the most impoverished community in the poorest big city in the nation. In addition to the immense poverty that plagues the area, residents here live in the epicenter of the national opioid crisis. Every day, they must navigate around the used needles, feces, urine, and trash they encounter on their way to work or take their children to school. Many are afraid to leave their homes because of the high level of violence and crime.
“Community Center at Visitation is guided by the strength and resilience of our neighbors. We provide a welcoming space for Kensington residents to build meaningful connections and access resources to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.”
Katrina Keating started as the Executive Director in November of 2020. Her previous work experiences in software development at Comcast and JPMorgan Chase & Co. brought a fresh perspective on how a non-profit can operate with agility and adaptability, which has been tremendously influential in these times of constant change in needs. At her core, Katrina is a servant leader – she recognizes that only through empowering both her employees and the community members that attend the Center will the organization have sustainable success in achieving its mission. She is exceptionally passionate about alleviating poverty and being part of the solution to make our world a more equitable place.
In the United States, 70% of the nation’s poor are women and children. Women in America are still 35% more likely than men to be deficient, with single mothers facing the highest risk. Currently, 35% of single women with children live and raise their families in poverty. With those staggering statistics, Community Center at Visitation is committed to empowering women with tools and resources to bring their families out of poverty. “Through our food pantry, health clinic, and women’s program, we foster relationships with the incredible members, especially the women, of our community and learn about their aspirations,” says Katrina. “As we develop trusted relationships, we are able to better connect them with resources already provided (whether through partners or internally at the Center).”
According to Katrina, lack of access to education, stable housing conditions, quality healthcare, and a supportive and caring community make it tremendously difficult for families to get out of poverty. “One anti-poverty strategy with evidenced success is the 2-Gen Approach, which essentially posits that when we provide families the necessary supports in the areas of education, economics, health, mental health and social capital, then that family is put on a path to self-sufficiency.” Over time, the goal is that the family would create patterns of intergenerational opportunity, breaking the habits of intergenerational poverty. Our long term goal is to better implement throughout our programming the two-generational approach.
In November 2003, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia opened the Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center’s doors to serve and engage the community and promote development. The Center brought new life into the once-abandoned building known as the Starlight Ballroom and was then repurposed into a haven that symbolizes family, community, hope, and love. With the community's support and the help of donors and organizations, the corner of Kensington and Lehigh Avenues was transformed into a thoroughly modernized structure.
For seven years, the Center ran under the leadership of Catholic Social Services. The Center saw the community engaged in sports, education classes, after-school programs, art programs, service opportunities, and more. Stemming from their commitment and hope to have the Center become a more effective and integrated resource for the Kensington community, Catholic Social Services transferred the management of the Center to Visitation BVM Parish in July 2010. Today, the Community Center at Visitation (CCV) is embarking on an exciting new course with a renewed hope and dream to better the quality of life and bring brighter possibilities for our neighbors of all faith, race, and gender. IEWL
The Community Center at Visitation
Executive Director of
The Community Center at Visitation
The Kensington District in Philadelphia, though deemed as one of the poorest Districts in all of Pennsylvania with high crime and drug rates, is also home to a diverse and deeply connected community. Here, you will find culturally rich neighborhoods that have stood the test of time and are still serving and preserving their traditions and practices. With a large population of Hispanics and Vietnamese, we believe that we have great flavors of food! Generations of families still walk and fill the streets with life and our neighbors are always ready to lend a helping hand when needed! We want you to see Kensington for what it truly is - a community just like any other that needs a little support to overcome its long-time challenges.